Boeing 737 Max to fly again
November 18, 2020 - Boeing’s 737 Max has received U.S. regulatory approval to return to service following a nearly 20-month grounding after fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia killed 346 people.
The process of approving the plane -- the best-selling jet in Boeing’s fleet -- to carry passengers has cost Boeing more than $20 billion, according to the company.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is requiring that Boeing change flight control software, known as the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS. The software was a critical factor in the two fatal crashes. The software will be unable to activate repeatedly. It can only do so with input from two sensors, instead of just one. The FAA also requires that pilots train to fly the Max in simulators.
“The path that led us to this point was long and gruelling,” said Steve Dickson, FAA administrator. “We were never driven by a timeline but rather followed a methodical and deliberate safety process.”
In October, Boeing delivered 11 commercial jets but received no new orders for any commercial aircraft type. European rival Airbus won 11 new orders and delivered 72 aircraft. Boeing’s 737 Max orders have shrunk by more than 1,000 since January.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit both aerospace manufacturers hard, as airlines struggle from the collapse in demand for air travel. Boeing is also losing orders from airlines and lessors who, still without a Max after 12 months, are cancelling their contracts without penalty.
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